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Stalling wage growth will hurt Kiwi families who are already struggling financially, the Green Party said today.
“Wage growth in the last year barely kept pace with inflation, and we had the smallest increase in hourly earnings since 1994. Combined with food price rises and the GST increase, it’s getting harder and harder for New Zealanders on low incomes to cover the basics,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
Mrs Turei was referring to figures in the Labour Cost Index and Quarterly Employment Survey, both released by Statistics New Zealand today.
“Even before GST went up, many families were struggling to cover the basics. With wages barely keeping pace with inflation, fragile household budgets will be under even more strain,” Mrs Turei said.
“These figures show that those hit hardest by the recession are yet to benefit from any upturn in the economy.
“The response of John Key’s Government has been to raise GST and deliver tax cuts to those on the highest income.
“The result is to widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots in New Zealand, a gap that is already one of the widest in the OECD.
“Without a coherent plan from the Government to reduce this gap, our most vulnerable families will fall through the cracks.
“Every child should be guaranteed the basics: a warm, dry, safe home to live in, healthy food, and a family income that can sustain them.
“We can help to guarantee these things by investing in solutions like those outlined in the Green Party’s ‘Mind the Gap’ package to reduce inequality: building new state houses, extending working for families income support to the poorest children, and making the first $10,000 of everyone’s income tax-free.
“Sadly John Key’s Government is eroding the essentials instead of investing in policies to guarantee them,” Mrs Turei said.